Types of mosquitoes
There are a number of different mosquitos that can impact you, your family and your pets.
Some mosquitoes breed quickly after rainfall, especially the common banded mosquito (Culex annulirostris), the most abundant freshwater mosquito in South East Queensland.
This mosquito breeds in shallow freshwater pools as well as in grassy drains and depressions, particularly in rural areas or suburbs with open space, which includes most of Brisbane.
The common banded mosquito is considered the most effective carrier of Ross River virus in South East Queensland. It also carries Barmah Forest virus. Other freshwater breeding mosquitoes can also carry these viruses, as well as heartworm, which affects dogs and cats.
Council controls Culex annulirostris and other mosquitoes on public land, however private landowners are responsible for the control of mosquitoes on their land.
In summer almost every residence in Brisbane provides habitats for the common backyard mosquito (Aedes notoscriptus). These mosquitoes breed in natural containers such as tree cavities and bromeliads, as well as man-made containers such as pot plant trays, bird baths, discarded tyres, garden rubbish and gutters. They also breed in unmaintained swimming pools and poorly-screened rainwater tanks.
In summer, adults can be abundant within seven to 10 days after rain has filled containers and eggs hatch. This species is most likely to be found biting in winter and also carries dog heartworm.
The Dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) are container-breeding mosquitoes but do not currently occur in Brisbane.
Saltmarsh mosquitoes (Aedes vigilax) breed in saltmarsh and mangrove habitats in Brisbane. These areas cover much of coastal Brisbane from the Pine River in the north to Tingalpa Creek in the south. The Boondall and Tinchi Tamba Wetlands are prime habitat for this mosquito.
The saltmarsh mosquito is Brisbane’s most significant mosquito pest due to:
- huge numbers simultaneously hatch after trigger events such as rain or high tides
- adults are highly mobile and disperse inland for five to 10 kilometres
- female mosquitoes have highly aggressive biting behaviour
- they have the capacity to carry Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses.
Saltmarsh mosquitoes can be a particular problem during times of low rainfall as their eggs are conditioned to hatch in greater numbers after a period of drying out.
Rain over 40 mm or high tides over 2.4 m can trigger a hatching event and biting activity can be expected approximately 10 days later. The adults live for one to two weeks.